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Opposition UNM MP accuses former colleagues of corruption

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 13
Nika Melia, one of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, told the Georgian Public Broadcaster that former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who used to be a UNM member, was a corrupt official when he served as Mayor.

He also stated that another parliamentary opposition party, European Georgia, which was established after the UNM split in January 2017, is being financed by Davit Kezerashvili, a former member of the UNM and ex-Defense Minister of Georgia, who is currently in exile since various charges were brought against him in Georgia.

“Kezerashvili earned his money several years ago by robbery and theft while he was working in the Financial Police. His business partners are in Georgia today and continue to develop their businesses,” he stressed.

Melia claims that the UNM was divided by the joint attempts of Giga Bokeria, Ugulava, Kezerashvili and ex- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party.

The UNM MP spoke about the 2003 Rose Revolution, which brought the UNM into power, adding that the revolution brought many dishonorable people into government.

“There were several politicians in the UNM who were bribed, and who now represent that so-called opposition party,” he stated, referring to European Georgia.

Melia was responded to by former member of the UNM and one of the leaders of the European Georgia party, Otar Kakhidze.

He said that it is very sad to hear such accusations from a former colleague.

Kakhidze says that the charges against Kezerashvili are false and politically motivated, adding that this was proved when he was released in France under electronic monitoring and the French court refused to extradite him to Georgia in 2014.

“As for the accusations that someone made a deal with Ivanishvili, it is not nice to say such things. When Melia was charged in 2012 we were in one party. His case has been underway for 5 years and I have never said that he had a deal with Ivanishvili,” Kakhidze said.

The United National Movement was divided into two on January 12 2017.

The decision was made after an inter-party conflict about the January 20 party congress, when around 7000 delegates gathered together to decide the fate of the party.

The UNM members also disagreed about electing a new leader of the party. It was this disagreement which caused the final split.

In total, 59 party members officially left the UNM and formed a parliamentary minority, namely the Movement for Freedom - European Georgia.